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Aches and Pain Can be Depression

Many people experience unexplained physical symptoms such as back pain or headaches. These symptoms mostly go unnoticed but are indicative of depression.

The vague aches and pain are often the presenting symptoms of depression which may include:

  • Chronic joint pain
  • Limb pain
  • Back pain
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Tiredness
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Psychomotor activity changes
  • Appetite changes

Physical pain and depression have a deeper biological connection. The deregulation of neurotransmitters that influence both pain and mood namely serotonin and norepinephrine may be the cause of both depression and pain. This might sometimes create a vicious cycle in which pain worsens symptoms of depression, and then the resulting depression worsens feelings of pain.

One 2015 study showed a correlation between people who are depressed and decreased pain tolerance, while another study in 2010 showed that pain has a greater impact on people who are depressed.

Therapy or medicine or both will clear up your physical symptoms along with treating depression.

Some antidepressants, such as duloxetine (Cymbalta), venlafaxine (Effexor), may help with chronic pain, too.

  • An anti-anxiety or sleep aid medicine for insomnia can help you relax and sleep better.
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy can teach you ways to deal better with pain.
  • Since pain and depression can sometimes go together, easing your pain may lift your depression as well.